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Elton John's classic concert series continues Saturday with 'Live in Australia 1986'

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On Saturday at 12 p.m. ET, Elton John will present the second installment of his new Classic Concert Series on his official YouTube channel.

Sydney Entertainment Centre Live In Australia 1986 captures a particularly memorable Elton John performance — not just because he performed part of it with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, but because Elton was afraid it might be his last show ever.

As he writes on Instagram, “Three weeks after this show, I was booked in to have throat surgery and was worried I would never sing again. Well, if that was to be the case, I was going to go out on a high!”

“The outfits Bob Mackie designed for me were typically fabulous and I’m incredibly proud of how well  Bernie [Taupin] and my songs translated to being performed with the 88-piece Melbourne Sydney Orchestra,” he adds, and giving a specific shout-out to the huge, bright purple wig he wore to sing “Bennie and the Jets.”

He posted a clip of his performance of “Your Song” on Instagram as well, and wrote, “Playing #YourSong with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is truly an experience I’ll never forget. They elevated Paul Buckmaster’s original string arrangement to new levels.”

Elton obviously made it through the surgery OK, but he had to stop touring for 18 months. His vocal range also went from tenor to baritone as a result of the surgery.

The concert was recorded for the 1987 album and home video Live in Australia with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, but it didn’t capture the complete show.  A live version of “Candle in the Wind” from this show became a top-10 hit in 1987.

As previously reported, Elton is streaming these classic concerts to raise money for his AIDS Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund.

By Andrea Dresdale
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